Lyon boss Fabio Grosso and his assistant sustain facial injuries in bus attack

By Sports Desk October 29, 2023

Marseille’s Ligue 1 match against Lyon was called off on Sunday evening after the visiting team’s bus was attacked on its way to the stadium, with head coach Fabio Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo “directly hit and seriously injured in the face”.

Footage on social media appeared to show stones being thrown at the OL bus, with Grosso pictured on a stretcher and with a bloodied face.

French football’s governing body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel, confirmed the match, which had been due to kick off at 1945GMT, was postponed after an emergency meeting.

Its statement read: “During the crisis unit meeting following the incidents that occurred outside the Stade Velodrome on the route of its bus, Olympique Lyonnais made known its opposition to taking part in the match given the circumstances.

“In consultation with Olympique de Marseille and the public authorities, the OM-OL match will therefore not be played this evening at 8.45pm.”

OL issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, adding that they had initially looked for the match to go ahead, before realising the conditions of Grosso and Longo were “much more serious than expected” and due to the “mental state of the players”.

The club said: “This Sunday evening, at the entrance to the Velodrome stadium, several individuals violently attacked the Olympique Lyonnais bus, as well as its staff and players.

“Six buses of Olympique Lyonnais supporters were also targeted. If in the past, attacks of this type had already taken place, which Olympique Lyonnais has always regretted, this Sunday, October 29, a new step towards the worst was taken.

“In fact, several secure windows were broken by heavy projectiles of unknown nature. These same projectiles penetrated the interior of the bus.

“Coach Fabio Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo were directly hit and seriously injured in the face during this attack. Present with them on the bus, the players and staff were also deeply affected by the violence of this attack, which Olympique Lyonnais strongly condemns.

“Initially, as indicated by the OL representative at the start of the crisis meeting, driven by their courage, the coach and the players wanted the meeting to be able to take place.

“Subsequently, the OL representative was informed of the physical condition of Fabio Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo, much more serious than expected, but also of the negative medical opinions and the mental state of the players. She then announced a change in the situation, indicating the impossibility of playing the match.”

OL said it was “clearly impossible” for the match to take place, adding that they planned to “file a complaint in the coming days” before calling on the authorities to take action.

They concluded: “Finally, Olympique Lyonnais regrets that this type of situation occurs every year in Marseille and invites the authorities to take stock of the seriousness and repetition of this type of incident before an even more serious tragedy occurs.”

Marseille issued a statement of their own, criticising the perpetrators and wishing 45-year-old Italian Grosso well.

“Olympique de Marseille deplores the unacceptable incidents which took place this evening around the Stade Velodrome, against the professional team bus as well as Olympique Lyonnais supporter buses,” the OM statement read.

“The club wishes a speedy recovery to Lyon coach Fabio Grosso and strongly condemns this violent behaviour which has no place in the world of football and in society.

“Due to a handful of mindless people, the game planned for this evening was spoiled and deprived 65,000 supporters of attending a football match.

“The club complies with the decision taken by the LFP and remains at its disposal so that the match which was scheduled for this Sunday, October 29, takes place as quickly as possible and under the best possible conditions at the Stade Velodrome.”

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